Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Clover at dusk art quilt

Oh look - a squirrel!  This month I worked on another squirrel project, a small art quilt this time.

Clover at dusk art quilt

Clover at dusk
A few weeks ago, as is our routine, Chevy was taking me for a walk in the early dusk. It was a lovely evening. On our way back to the house I was enchanted by a patch of clover backed by vines of dark leaves cascading from the fence and the blinking lights of a couple of fire flies. I took a few minutes to admire it and then home we went.

By the time I got home, I was thinking that I had to capture the moment in a small art quilt. I sketched a rough image and the next day went back to check out some of the details. And that's how the Clover at dusk art quilt became a squirrel (i.e. an unplanned project - Drop Everything And Make it!) to be posted in the Dreami! linking party.

After choosing two hand-dyed fabrics from my stash, I cut up some leaf fabric and glued the leaves onto the piece. After stitching them down with FMQ, I drew in the fence and FMQ it.

The beginning of Clover at dusk art quilt
The next step was the embroidery of the clover and grass. I used the lazy daisy stitch for the clover leaves. The embroidery took a couple of enjoyable evenings as I listened to audio books.

I then added the batting and FMQ around the clover and in the grass, as well as around the leaves and the outline of the fence.

I attached a backing fabric using the pillow case method, turned it over, closed the opening and wrote out the label directly on the fabric. I was admiring my work when it dawned on me that I hadn't added the clover flowers! Oops :-)
Simple label written on the back fabric
I knew that I wanted to use fuzzy wool to make the clover flowers. I played around with the wool and embroidery floss and came up with these.
Clover added to the Clover at dusk piece!
Here is a close up of the clover.
Close up of the clover flowers.
Finally came the time to add the fire flies - a couple of shimmering off-white beads did the trick.

Clover at dusk with fire-flies
What I learned
  • There were many lessons learned in this wonderful mini project. Because it was unplanned and small, it was much less intimidating than most projects - just an idea and the challenge of making it in cloth!
  • After sketching out the original idea, I'm glad that I was able to go back the next evening to check out some of the details. If I had waited longer, I would have been out of luck since the scene is no longer there  - the owner mowed his lawn :-) 
  • Behind the hand-dyed fabric, I used an interfacing that I found in my stash. I'm not sure what kind it is, but I'm going to look into it because I really like it.
  • The internet is really a great aid. I just found some generic pictures of metal fences and the clover flower to help me with the details.
  • I wanted to add a little colour to the grass and found a variegated embroidery floss with some of the greens of the grass that also a little beige and purple. It worked in really well.
  • I make it sound easy in the description of my process, but I was tired and it took me three tries to get the backing on correctly...I kept sewing the fabric right-side up! 
  • The backing has a few stitches for the clover flowers and the fire-flies. It's not a big deal, but hopefully next time I'll finish the embroidery before adding the backing 😊
Linking Parties
I will be linking this post to mmm! quilts' Dreami! linking party as well as others. Check them out! Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Wandering Camera, Off the Wall Friday, Finished or Not Friday, TGIFF, Free Motion Mavericks, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Friday Fofo Fun, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Move it Forward Monday,

Great News! Clover at dusk was featured in Sandra's August Dreami! at mmm! Quilts. I also linked up with Sarah Goer's Show Me Something...Mini.

Project Details
Clover at dusk

Clover at dusk
7½" x 8½"
Materials: hand-dyed fabric, commercial fabric, glue stick, beads
Techniques: hand embroidery, free motion quilting, beading

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Progress on hexie and neutral quilts

I have two quilt projects on the go, and today I'll be sharing my progress on both.

Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt

I wrote a post on my Epic Neutral Bow Tie quilt in June. As I mentioned there, I really love this quilt since it's fairly easy but interesting and it can be made a batch at a time. I've finished my second batch.
Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt - a few more blocks
It's great when you can put a few of these blocks together to see what it's starting to look like.

Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt - all those brown and off-white fabrics
A third of the blocks have been made. I'm not too sure how to deal with a couple of fabrics that could easily read as very light brown or darker off-white. You can see one of these over the word "brown" in the block above. In this case, I paired it with a dark brown fabric. I think that once the whole quilt is put together that it will be fine. I'll just have to place these a little more carefully.

I'm always astounded by the variety of colours that can be included in brown and off-white. Thank goodness that they usually play well together.

Kingfisher Stitch-Along

The English Paper Piecing project is coming along quite well considering all of the hand-work involved. I really love working on it and it's perfect for doing while listening to audio books. I'm very grateful for our public library's great collection.

These were the first 5 diamonds that I put together a couple of weeks ago.

First 5 diamonds
 This is what I have done so far - slow but steady!
17 diamonds with appliqued hexies

Chevy was supervising the photo shoot
I bought a great plastic tote to organise my hexies. At the very bottom is my background fabric, then my cut diamonds, hexies ready to applique and finally a bag of scraps for more hexie flowers.
Bottom of the new organising container
The container has a second part where I can place my templates, hexies to be pieced, as well as thread and needles. I've placed the appliqued hexies on top so that they don't get crushed.

Add caption
Finally, I am using my new Selvage Love pouch to bring my hexies with me to work during my lunch break. It easily carries everything I need to sew my hexies together.
Selvage Love Pouch with sewing supplies
Today I just received the Papyrus Batiks fat quarter bundle by Hoffman Fabrics from the Fat Quarter Shop. They will make a fine addition to the three other background fabrics I have.

What I learned
  • Amazingly enough, progress is good and there have been few lessons to learn to date. 
  • I'm just going to have to work through the very light brown or darker off-white issue for the Epic Neutral Bow Tie Quilt. It's nothing major, as long as I'm consistent and that I pair these with very dark or very light fabrics.
  • My organising tote has come in handy. I've also lugged around my Selvage Love pouch - it's really useful, and both will continue to be useful for other projects also.

Related posts

Linking parties
I will be linking up this post to many linking parties. Check them out to see what's happening. Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall MondayMoving It ForwardLinky TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky Party, Let's Bee SocialNeedle & Thread Thursday, Silly Mama Quilts WIPs, Free Motion Mavericks, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Oh Scrap!, Slow Sunday Stitching,

Thursday, July 19, 2018

TGIFF and Batik Lap Quilt Finish

Welcome to this week's TGIFF - Thank Goodness it's Finished Friday! It's the place to share our great finishes 😊

My finish this week is a Batik Lap Quilt for a friend. This lap quilt is made of two Los Cobos Batiks charm packs (5 inch squares) by Moda and some squares from my stash. I also quilted it using Kimono Silk Thread, which I ran out of half way through!

This was the first time that I free motion quilted (FMQ) the same design all over the quilt. It was the feather meander design that I learned from Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge earlier this year.

Finished Batik Lap Quilt

Picnic shot of the Batik Lap Quilt
I finished quilting it on Tuesday evening and bound the quilt last night. I'm pretty sleep deprived today and I promise that I won't handle heavy machinery today :-)

This morning's photo session was a real treat - sunny but not too hot. I went to one of my favourite places to photograph my work, just outside of the building I work in. Even if the grass is yellow everywhere, the brick and grasses are always great for photographing quilts.
A peak at the back

Here's a close-up shot of the quilting. The FMQ went really well except when I was quilting on the lighter blue fabric - it was almost invisible and I had a lot of trouble seeing my feathers!
Close-up of the FMQ feather meander design
What I learned
  • This was a really great project to practice my FMQ. The feather meander design is really great.
  • By the end of the quilting though, I was getting a little bored and my feathers were getting pretty creative. I just may have to play with this a little more - who knows, I could come up with a variation of my own!
  • I've learned my lesson - this is the last time that I will buy only 2 charm packs for this kind of quilt. It sort of defeats the purpose when you still have to cut more squares. 
  • I was able to put this lesson to practice because I was the June OMG link-up's lucky winner a a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop. I bought 3 beautiful batik charm packs to make my next lap quilt. You see? Eventually lessons learned do stick (at least for a while). Thank you so much Patty of Elm Street Quilts and the Fat Quarter Shop for a great gift. 
Related Links
Linking Parties
I'll be linking this post to the July OMG linkup as soon as it opens 😊 as well as other great parties. Let's go see what's happening around the quilting world. Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Free Motion Mavericks, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party,

Great news! Batik Lap Quilt was featured on Free Motion Mavericks. Thanks Muv :-)
and on Midweek Makers. Thanks Susan!
Project Details

Batik Lap Quilt 3
50" x 47"
Materials: 2 Los Cobos Batiks charm packs and other batik fabrics
Technique: piecing and free motion quilting using feather meander design

Monday, July 16, 2018

Q3 Goals for 2018

Just like last year, I missed the first two quarters of the Finish-Along, but hopefully I'll participate in the last two quarters.

Batik Lap Quilt

Since this project is my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for July, and that I received my beautiful silk thread, I'll be finishing this quilt in about another three hours of quilting. The feather meander FMQ is looking as good as I hoped 😊

Feather Meander design for the batik lap quilt

This project is also my finish since I'm hosting this week's TGIFF - I'll see you there!

Neutral Lap Quilt

I started this quilt at the beginning of June. It's going much better than I hoped. Part of the reason is that I can cut the fabric in batches after I've finished piecing the last batch. It's my favourite way of cutting and piecing - a small batch at a time. I can handle 10 or even 20 blocks, but not 80! 

Neutral lap quilt is coming along
I love working in batches

Kingfisher Stitch-Along

I'm having so much fun with this stitch-along, but it's going to take a lot longer than a couple of months to finish the quilt! My goal is to have the quilt top finished by the end of the quarter. Probably not very realistic, but I'll certainly keep at it cause someone might decide to make this much fun illegal 😊
Lots of hexie flowers and many, many more to go!

The first hexie on a diamond

Connected by a Thread Art Quilt

I've only posted a few little parts of this art quilt. It's coming along but will need some dedicated time soon to get it finished by the September deadline. How I dislike that 8 letter word....

More work required to finish this art quilt!
Art Quilt with Embroidery

The Out of the Box is putting on a display of art quilts with words, sayings, etc. at a local library. Since it's for November, I would really like to see what I can do to add words and possibly some FMQ to one of my embroideries. I found the words so now it's a matter of putting all of this together. It will be both fun and a challenge 😊 I'm sure I'll learn lots - so what's not to love?

Étude in Stem Stitching

FMQ motifs in stem stitch

Art with Fabric Blog Hop
This is an event that I love participating in. Since I'd like to be able to show it in next summer's show, it will have to be based on something that doesn't have any copyright. Buildings, ancient, medieval and Renaissance art fit well into that category, so what ever the theme, this criteria will help me narrow things down when it comes to deciding what to do.

Welcome to My House Blog Hop

I've always wondered how quilters joined the blog hops until I found Carol at Just Let Me Quilt. She hosts many blog hops and since she was looking for participants for her next blog hop, I accepted the challenge :-) I love that the only criteria is a house on the finished piece. I think I can do that! I'll see you all in September for this one.

Note: these last 2 projects don't count for the Q3 since they haven't been started, but I included them here so that I could keep track of all my plans.

What I learned
  • This should probably read, "what I didn't learn" and "what I'm doing again!" which is to over commit. In my defense, many of these projects are things that I'd like to do but don't really have to do. In reality, there are only two items that I've committed to - the Connected by a Thread and the Welcome to my House blog hop. At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it 😊
  • There seems to be a pattern here about missing the first 2 quarters of the Finish Along. I think that in the winter, I just go, go, go, but in the heat of summer, I take more time to plan and reflect....maybe?
  • I expect to have a lot of fun in the next quarter. Hopefully I'll have the time to play on most of these. Like I keep telling my husband, if you're not having fun, why bother? (that's about hockey and golf but it could apply to quilting and art!)

Related links
There are quite a few related links here, so I'm just going to post the last time I mentioned these particular projects on the blog. From there, if you want, you can see their related links.

Linking parties
I will be linking this post to the Q3 Goal Setting Link-up of the 2018 Finish-A-Long,  as well as many others. Let's see what everyone is planning and doing!
Monday MakingMain Crush MondayDesign Wall MondayMoving it Forward Monday, Linky Tuesday, To-Do TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky Party, Midweek Makers, Silly Mama Quilts WIPsNeedle & Thread Thursday, Finished or Not Friday,

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hexie Runner is done

It's been almost a year since I started this hexie runner. Finally, here it is!
Finished Hexie Runner
I used ¾" hexies to make the runner.

I made a number of hexie flowers and then played with them to see how to put them together to make a runner.
Choosing the flowers
Below is a close-up of the flowers and hexies between them.

I used darker fabric for the outside of the hexie flowers and then a lighter fabric for the middle row. The centre of the flower is a matching darker hexie.

Close-up of the flowers and hexies in-between

The other half of  the flowers and hexies in-between
Back of the hexie runner
I wanted to use the lighter fabrics between the hexies to give it some colour so that it wouldn't be too stark. The white looking fabric is used between the rows and all around the runner. It's actually not a solid but a couple of white-on-white cottons.

My first hexie table topper

The back of the runner is a beautiful blue batik. As you can see, I finished this runner the same way I had finished my original hexie table topper. Although it was a great finish for a small table topper, I found it to be very long and tedious for the runner. It is, however, a great looking finish.

What I learned
  • I was too impatient after making the small hexie table topper and I should have stopped for a longer break between making this one and the last project.
  • This project definitely fits of description of "better done than perfect". I was doing fine until I quilted and then finished the border. It's very pretty....from far.
  • I really, really hope to remember to wait until I'm truly in the mood to work on something so exacting the next time I quilt and finish a hexie project.
  • I'm not too worried about the Kingfisher Stitch-Along that I'm working on right now because these are hexie flowers that are hand-appliquéd onto the diamond fabric. As long as I'm not in a rush to finish it, it should be fine.
Related Links
Linking Parties
I will be linking up to the following link-ups. Find out what's happening around the quilting universe and make sure to link up below with your latest finish! TGIFF,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek MakersNeedle & Thread ThursdayFinished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap!, Friday Foto Fun, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward MondayLinky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party,

Project Details

Hexie Runner
15" x 32"
Materials: cotton fabric, hexagon paper templates and silk thread
Techniques: English paper piecing (EPP)

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Throwback Thursday

I've always liked doing improvisational piecing. Although I don't necessarily do it often, I find it very relaxing to just sew bits of fabric together, and the wonkier the better!

Scrappy Improv Binder Cover

This project, a binder cover, was made in 2012-2013. The only reason I know this is because of the scraps. Many of these fabrics were originally used to make a Seattle Street quilt for my niece. You can see the quilt below.

Scrappy improv binder cover -  front
The binder holds my sewing machine information - a stitch chart that I started but never finished, my manual as well as bit of stitching samples. These bits are usually of satin stitching since that pretty much the only stitch that I take the time to make a sample of.
Scrappy improv binder cover - back
Here's the original Seattle Street quilt that I made for my niece during a guild workshop. I think that my niece has more of my quilts than anyone else. That's mostly because I made a couple of quilts for the family, thinking that they would go in their family room, but she quickly took ownership of them!

Seattle Street quilt
What I learned

I can't honestly tell you what I learned while making any of these projects - it's been too long. I do like my binder cover, especially since it was made to be wonky on purpose. Of course if I was trying not to make it wonky, the results would be the same 😊

Related Links

Although I never included the binder covers in a blog post, I did include the Seattle Street quilt in the post below. As you can see if you follow the link, I was very shy and didn't know what to say back then. Oh, how that's changed!
Linking Parties
I will be linking this post to Throwback Thursday at mmm! Quilts, as well as many others. Join the fun and see what's happening around the quilting world. Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?Monday MakingMain Crush Monday, Oh Scrap!Design Wall MondayMoving it Forward Linky TuesdayTuesday Colour Linky Party, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday,

Friday, July 06, 2018

2018 Mid Year Review

Hooray! The July heat wave has been pushed away, at least temporarily, so I may come out of the house this weekend :-)

2018 Mid Year Review

Hexie flower for the
Kingfisher Stitch Along
In December when I was planning my year (courtesy of Yvonne at Quilting JETgirl), I had learned a hard lesson from 2017 - to keep it simple and as stress free as possible. See, I can learn 😊 So I kept it quite simple, with a few categories and general projects and learning. Let's review:

Possible Quilt Alongs

I knew that I would be participating in Alida's Starry Bright Sky QAL. So far, I'm up-to-date on my blocks, even if my June block was a mess.

I was seriously considering participating in Block of the Month Series presented by Bernina and even bought loads of Alison Glass fabric for it. Although it's a lovely quilt, I think that it's the colours and the fabric that impressed me the most. I will use that yummy fabric but I've decided to minimize the amount of traditional quilting - as in following a pattern - that I'm going to do.
One of two cuddle quilts

I joined my second Postcard from Sweden QAL, this time hosted by mmm! quilts. I'm happy to report that my quilt top is finally done!

Also, I combined my wanting to make charity quilts with Amy's Comfort QAL in April. I adapted the simple pattern to make 2 lovely charity cuddle quilts.

A mix of FMQ designs based on
Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge
I did join the Kingfisher Stitch Along since it's all about making a very simple quilt with hexie flowers. I'm still crazy about hexies but I wanted to make them as part of a larger piece. I've had lots of fun photographing the hexie flowers in nature and slowly hand-appliquéing the hexies onto the diamonds.

Since I wanted to keep practicing my FMQ, I joined Angela Walter's FMQ Challenge QAL. That was a lot of work but I really enjoyed it. Here's the square where I practiced most of the FMQ designs.

Update my blog

I've slowly been updating my blog like I wanted to. Many are just minor changes, like using consistent headings and post formats. All best practices of writing for the web that I've learned at work.
Project finishes for 2017 page created using the InLinkz tool

I've also created more pages for the blog, highlighting the projects that I've completed in each year. Pages for 2014 to 2017 have been created using my InLinkz tool. I only have 2012-13 left to do. I've created a Linking Parties and Events page to help me keep track of dates as well as make it easier to post buttons on the side of my blog. I've learned a lot and am hoping to create a Tips for working in Blogger page sometime this year.

Art Quilts

Morning Has Broken
On my holidays in January, I worked on some embroidery as well an art quilt. Isles Canarias was my first art quilt of 2018. As I hoped, I made another art quilt, Morning Has Broken, for Alida's Art with Fabric Blog Hop.
Islas Canarias art quilt

I was able to exhibit my art quilts at both Fibre Fling 7 and the Common Thread Quilt Guild's quilt show. These two pieces are 2 of my best pieces to date.

I am currently working on an art quilt for a show for next summer with the Out of the Box Art Group. It needs to be finished by the end of September and is coming along nicely.

Finishing Some UFOs

This category wasn't in my 2018 plan but I'm adding it here since I also managed to finish 2 UFOs. Street Art My Way (2014) and Scrappy Triangles Baby Quilt (2015).
Scrappy Triangles Baby Quilt
Street Art My Way

What I learned
  • Wow! I can't believe all that I've accomplished!!! And mostly without too much pressure. I wasn't sure how true that was so I went through my posts. May was the usual busy month with the Art with Fabric Blog Hop and a quilt show, but otherwise I seem to have done pretty well keeping the pressure down.
  • If I'm productive, it's because I try to quilt every day, as long as I'm not too tired. I've discovered that since I don't watch television, I have lots of time to quilt or read. I don't often spend much time on the computer since I work at one all day, but I get my small doses of Instagram and reading blogs a few times a week. 
  • Since I work on many projects at a time, I can choose which project to work on in the evening based on how much energy I have. I've been doing this for about four years now and my quilting has really improved.
  • I've also discovered what stresses me (deadlines and complicated piecing) and what I enjoy (FMQ, art quilts and improv piecing). That has really helped me manage both my time and my stress effectively. As I write this, I realise how lucky I am to have found what I am passionate about and how to make the most of it. I also have to add that, as you know, I love blogging and being a part of this wonderful online community :-)
Related Links
Linking Parties
I will be linking this post up to JETgirl's 2018 MidYear Review Link Up. I will also link up to these parties. Check them out! Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving it Forward, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Finished or Not Friday,